By Ian Neubauer
The Federal Government’s plan to impose mandatory health warnings for alcohol advertising and containers is dead in the water following the defeat of the RTD tax hike bill in Parliament yesterday (Mar 18).
The plan was one of several conditions the Greens and independent Senator Nick Xenophon demanded from the Rudd Government to support the failed bill.
Efforts by Family First Senator Steve Fielding – the man who sunk the bill – to nevertheless proceed with mandatory warnings were scuttled by Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon, whose party has taken an all-or-nothing approach in the fallout of the Senate’s rejection of the bill.
She said all concessions – including a plan to spend $50 million to combat problem drinking – were now moot points.
The minister also hammered home the message that Fielding’s demand to decouple sport and alcohol advertising – the sticking point that brought the RTD tax hike bill to its knees – would not take place overnight, if at all.
“A decision to change advertising that affects the sporting industry, the broadcasting industry and many more should be one that is taken properly in a considered way. [It is] a decision for government, not Senator Fielding,” Fairfax reported the minister as saying.
Senator Fielding was unapologetic, sayings his plan is supported by 70 per cent of Australians.
“I urge [the Rudd Government] to take this opportunity and to know that it has really made a difference in creating a culture that prevents, rather than promotes, binge drinking,” he said.
“More than 70 per cent of Australians want it."
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